Why Promoted Agents Should be Vested

Is it not curious to anyone else that KFB penalizes agents at promotion? What… When? This penalty comes when an agent accepts an agency manager position prior to being vested. This makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would any company have conditions in place that would be a deterrent to seemingly the most optimal candidates in their labor pool? This is not to say that agents who are fairly early in their career are not good candidates, but I would say that we all agree that experience is an invaluable trait.

So why is it a deterrent and to whom? Let’s start with the different phases of an agent.

  • Validating agent: These are those of us who are “Under the Gun”. For the first 4 years of their career, they work and toil with one primary focus, make sure to validate! This group has expectations to meet and generally a track to run on to get there (or else). This group has likely not yet had the experience a major storm, a big property claim, or a full trip around the ongoing insurance business cycle.
  • Young Agent: Typically this group consist of agents between 3.5 – 5.5 years in their career. This group has begun to figure it out. They have begun to build a book of business. If they have survived validation with any level of success, now the company gets to see if they have the ability sustain a successful path. They have likely began to add tools to their trade such as LTC, Health Ins., and brokerage. Towards the 5 year mark, this group has created an identity not only with in the company, but also in their communities. These agents are now starting families and getting more involved outside of the office making a difference where they live.
  • Professional Un-Vested Agent: Typically 5-7 years as an agent. This group now has committed to their profession as long term career choice. They are amassing a very respectable book of business. They have seen a thing or two are this point. They have had to work a CAT storm, watch their piers either succeed, or fail. They’ve probably help hire staff in their office and likely watched one leave or asked not to come back. Their young families are growing but still not completely rooted. They are becoming very involved in their community, yet probable not the president of Rotary or the Chamber.

The last group, the Professional Un-Vested agent are the ones that we need to be promoting. However, this is the group that may not be interested in taking a promotion because they will not get paid for the book of business that they have worked hard to build. Walking away from 5-7 years of x-dates, cold calls, referrals, and rejections is a very hard thing to do. There is a great deal of value to that work and should be compensated for, but the attitude is, “That’s the way it has always been”, or “That’s what I did”. It almost sounds like the same justifications we used in college for fraternity hazing (or at least that’s what I’ve heard).

After 7 years in the business, a lot is going on. That agent has likely grown a very sizable book of business and is earning a comfortable living. That does not mean that he is satisfied. In fact they have likely developed a niche in their market that has taken years to establish. Because of this, they are not interested in some of the split counties that are coming open. Why would they want to start all over when financially it may not make sense? Besides, once an agent has become vested with KFB, they are likely vested in their new home town too. As an agent with KFB, we are not residing in an area or county, we are planted there for the long haul. The longer the tap root grows, the harder it is to be moved, and that is the way it should be.

The answer is to rewards agents for making the move. If an agent is good enough to have created sizable, profitable book of business why should they be asked leave it behind for nothing. They would not be candidate for promotion if they had not created value for the company. Any agent who takes a promotion whether it be an AM position or a company management position should receive a buy-out of their book. Let’s do what’s right, not what we can get away with. It is in all of our interest to make sure the best of the best are promote to protect and grow our company’s assets.

Comments

  1. Karen Little, LUTCF says:

    Great article! Is this a topic that the Agents Association has addressed with KFB?

  2. John Beavin, LUTCF says:

    I do not think that this has been addressed formally, but it should be.

    • Karen Little, LUTCF says:

      Thanks John! How does the agent association decide on what topics are addressed with KFB? What are some of the current topics that are being addressed within the association?

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